C.G.B. C.B.E. D.S.O. D.F.C. Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Denis Spotswood

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Product code: A8118

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Our price: £10,500.00

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Medal Description

G.C.B. (Military) Knight Grand Cross, sash Badge, gold, silver-gilt, and enamel; Star, gold, silver-gilt, silver and enamel, in fitted case of issue,  (C.B.E.), Military, Commander's 2nd type neck badge, silver-gilt and enamel, Distinguished Service Order, (GV1)  reverse 1943,  Distinguished Flying Cross, (GVI),  reverse 1942 and further engraved 'A./W. Cdr. D. F. Spotswood',  1939/45 Star, Atlantic Star, Africa Star, clasp, North Africa 1942-43, Burma Star, Defence Medal, War Medal, with M.I.D. oak leaf, Jubilee 1953, Jubilee 1977,  U.S.A., Legion of Merit, Officer's breast Badge, gilt and enamel, officially numbered and with original case of issue, this with official name label inscribed, 'Group Captain D. F. Spotswood',

court mounted  Spink & Son, the D.S.O. with small enamel chip to one obverse arm.

Sold with the recipient's original Officers Record of Service, from Air Vice-Marshal R. J. Honey, C.B., C.B.E., dated 1 December 1992 and the press photograph of Spotswood presenting The Prince of Wales with his 'wings', 20 August 1971, with Press Association notation to reverse and varied copied research and recommendations.

Prov. Spink & Son, sold by direct descendant

Marshal of the Royal Air Force Sir Denis Spotswood,.

G.C.B. L.G. 1/1/1971

C.B.E. L.G. 1/1/1946

D.S.O. L.G. 28/9/1943. Recommendation states:

'Wing Commander Spotswood commanded No. 500 Squadron throughout the 'Torch' operations and subsequently until his return to the United Kingdom on 6 April 1943.

He built up an excellent Squadron which had at one time the record number of U-boat 'kills' of any Squadron in the Royal Air Force and in spite of heavy administrative responsibilities, personally participated in several successful attacks on U-boats, during the period in which his Squadron created the record mentioned.

The outstanding results were largely due to the drive, energy and initiative of Wing Commander Spotswood and to his personal example both in the air and on the ground.'

D.F.C. LG. 10/11/1942. Recommendation states:

'Wing Commander D. F. Spotswood assumed command of No. 500 (County of Kent) Squadron on 18 April 1942. The morale of the Squadron at that time was at rather a low ebb. Since he has been in command the spirit has completely changed, and this in in large measure due to the fine example set by their Squadron Commander, and to his infectious enthusiasm. They now cheerfully and confidently fly in the worst of weather conditions, which has resulted in a satisfactory number of U-boat sightings and attacks.

Since the outbreak of war he has completed 883 hours of operational flying (both in the North Sea and Atlantic) frequently under the worst of weather conditions, in the course of which he has carried out two attacks on U-boats, one of which may have been destroyed.'

Legion of Merit (Officer) L.g. 5/3/1948

Mention in despatches L.G. 24/9/1941 & 2 /6/1943.

The possible sunk U-Boat referred to in the D.F.C. recommendation was U-595 which in fact was fatally damaged and was forced to bech on the Algerian coast where the crew were taken prisoner.

As recounted by Flight Lieutenant J. R. Paine, D.F.M. in Search, Find and Kill.

'The U-boat was firing away merrily and must have upset the aircraft's aim somewhat. The C.O. [Spotswood] asked, "How do I attack this thing?"

"Aim in front of the conning tower and go across it 30 degrees so as to straddle it."

I, meantime armed myself with an F.4 camera ready to take the U-boat picture of the year - if my hands would keep steady.

The gunner manning the U-boat's aft gun was a blond, and his gunnery was very accurate. Steams of tracer came whistling at us and I yelled "Use the front guns."

"Not close enough," said the C.O.

Just then the rear gunner said, "There's an awful smell of petrol about."

I checked the fuel gauges and found one which read zero. We had been hit in a tank! Then there was a clunk and the port undercarriage looked a bit of a mess. We flew damned near up the muzzle of the gun and broke off to see the D/C's explode near the stern.

I got my photograph - it is now framed on my wall.'

obituary notice in The Guardian:

'Few non-Cranwell trained officers have ever risen to the highest rank of the Royal Air Force, but Marshal of the RAF Sir Denis Spotswood, who has died aged 85, did just that.

After he left Kingston Grammar School in 1932, Spotswood worked for the London Evening Standard, intending to be a journalist. But in 1935, one long afternoon while rowing on the Thames with his friend Arthur Scarf, the two young men decided to join the RAF.

Barely 20, Spotswood was too old to enter Cranwell as a cadet, but in 1936 he was granted a short service commission and joined the flying boat experimental station (he always loved flying boats) at Felixstowe, where Robert Watson-Watt was working on the development of radar. Spotswood flew one of the earliest Short Sunderlands to enter service.

After the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, Spotswood spent two years flying over the Atlantic's western approaches with 209 Squadron, until sent to Canada to ferry home one of the American Catalina flying boats with which the squadron was to be re-equipped.

He came back instead with a Lockheed Hudson bomber and became an instructor with a Hudson operational training unit. He was an able commanding officer of 500 Squadron, Coastal Command, which chalked up notable successes in its anti- U-boat operations in support of the invasion of north Africa, Operation Torch.

It was thought wasteful to risk him further on active operations and, after some time at the Air Ministry, he was posted to the South-East Asia Command (SEAC), soon becoming the senior RAF planner for the supreme commander, Lord Louis Mountbatten.

With the liberation of Singapore, Spotswood became deeply involved in welfare work for those people, service and civilian, who had been prisoners of the Japanese. Spotswood ended the war with a DFC, and a DSO awarded for his courage and leadership with 500 Squadron.

His first post-war posting was to the directing staff at Cranwell. From 1948-50, he commanded three Mosquito night fighter squadrons, followed by a stint on the directing staff at the Imperial Defence College. After jet fighter conversion training he went in 1952 on exchange to the US Air Force, as chief of the tactical operations branch at the Pentagon.

Back in Britain again, he was commanding officer at Linton-on-Ouse as Hunter fighters replaced Sabres and Meteors, then went to Whitehall as deputy director, plans. In 1958 came one of his most enjoyable postings, as commandant of Cranwell, a rare distinction for an officer not trained there.

Now firmly on the ladder to the highest rank, Spotswood went to Nato as assistant chief of staff in air defence, and then became chairman of a working group planning the RAF's future front-line requirements (one outcome of this study was the formation of Strike Command). At the height of the cold war, in the early 1960s, he took command of No 3 Group, Bomber Command, flying the V-bombers carrying Britain's main nuclear deterrent.

In 1965 he assumed his first high-level command as C-in-C RAF Germany; in 1968 he took charge of the new Strike Command; and on April 1 1971 he reached the top - chief of the air staff. His active service career ended in 1974.

On his retirement, he was appointed Marshal of the Royal Air Force. He then held several high-level board appointments, including six years as vice-chairman of Rolls-Royce. He was president of the Society of Aerospace Companies; chairman of the Royal Star and Garter home; life vice-president of the RAF Benevolent Fund; a trustee of the RAF Museum; and in 1975 was elected a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society.

Perhaps his finest achievement was that, despite the difficulties the RAF faced in an unsettled post-war role, the service to which he had given his life remained a force worthy of pride.'

Spotswood was appointed Marshal of the Royal Air Force on 31 March 1974 and died at Henley-on-Thames on 11 November 2001.

A little 'thin' on original supporting material but with good provenance and an opportunity to purchase such a group at a small percentage over breakdown value



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